The material below is intended to introduce the scholar to the kind of information they can expect to find in the opisi. It is taken from the microfilm copy of the opisi of the Communist Party Archives housed in the Slavic Library at the University of Illinois.
There are numerous guides that describe archival materials at the opis level. Here we will list a few of the more recent publications, electronic and traditional in this category.
M.: "Rossiiskaia politicheskaia entsiklopediia"(ROSSPEN), 2004. 296p.
UIUC Call Number: Russian Reference 027.047 Ot1
This guide describes the opisi of the Communist Party that related to discussions of culture in the years 1953-1966, immediately following Stalin's death. It is traditionally organized, i.e., it is arranged by opis number. There are name, geographic and organizational indexes to assist the scholar. There is also an index of literary and artistic works. Thus the scholar can search under "Odin den' Ivana Denisovicha" and find references such as the one pictured below.
This type of focused, subject oriented guide can be found for numerous opisi. The section of the web site www.rusarchives.ru that deals with online guides has numerous links to online guides to descriptions of the opisi of parts of regional archives, or the archives of societies, etc.
This is a free online listing of the contents of the archive of the Comintern, with some 230,000 records. 84 inventories/fondy have been scanned and are accessible at this site. To access the material, the user must register but registration and use is free. The interface for searching is quite flexible, allowing Russian or English commands, the specification of the number of results returned on a search and other parameters. The user can perform general searches on the contents using fond numbers, keywords or subject headings. The search returns a detailed description of documents within the archive and all information necessary for retrieving the document. In some cases, the description has detail to the delo level.
Hoover does supply some excellent finding aids at its website. The image below is an example of the type of information in the finding aids one can expect to find at this site.
Konovalova, O. V., Odessa: OKFA; izdatel'stvo "TES". 1998-
UIUC Call Number: Russian Reference947.7 P812 V.1-5
This multi-volume set describes the opisi in fondy of the Odessa Regional Government Archive that relate to the settlement of emigres in the southern regions of Russia. These materials will be of interest to those studying the Imperial government's policies on immigration as well as those interested in the history of the region and individuals trying to identify genealogical information. . The detailed entries include the date, or as near to it as possible, that the material was created. Information on the numerical identification given the opis and list are included along with the title of the document and a description of its contents. Included in this description is the name or names of the documents author. Any variants of the family name available are also included.
Popechitel'nyi Komitet ob inostrannykh poselentsakh IUzhnogo kraia Rossii 1799-1876. T. 5, p. 260
The annotation shown above gives a good idea of the kind of information the researcher can obtain from this source. Each volume includes supplementary data, primarily statistical and a name and ethno-geographic index.